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Articles from 2013 In September


Hen housing research examines worker health

The Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) released a preliminary analysis of its CSES Flock One research results for Worker Health & Safety, Food Safety & Egg Quality at the coalition's annual meeting Sept. 25 in Bloomington, Minn.

CSES said the findings show that workers in the cage-free aviary house were exposed to higher levels of dust and bacteria than those working in the conventional cage or enriched colony house. The findings also bring "clarity" to the question of egg quality, as it was not impacted by hen housing system. This illustrates the multiple variables that must be considered when evaluating the sustainability of different egg production systems, CSES said.

Research on the sustainability of different production systems conducted by CSES will help inform policy makers, egg producers, food industry stakeholders and consumers who purchase eggs. The research project is studying five aspects of sustainable egg production in conventional, enriched colony and cage-free aviary housing systems. Preliminary research results for the animal health and well-being, food affordability and environment aspects of the research were released in 2012. CSES said it does not promote any specific housing system, but encourages informed decision making by stakeholders across the food system.

"Currently, the egg industry lacks comprehensive commercial-scale research evaluating the various aspects of sustainability," said Dr. Joy Mench, professor of animal science at University of California-Davis and co-director of the CSES research. "Evaluating the impact of hen housing systems based on these different variables will help provide the necessary research that is ethically grounded, scientifically verified and economically viable, and ultimately in alignment with the desires of consumers."

Among the three types of housing studied, the cage-free aviary system had consistently higher inhalable particle and inhalable endotoxins concentrations in spring, summer and winter, CSES said. Workers who had been in the aviary system had fewer changes in lung function between the beginning and end of work shifts than those in other systems, though not significantly so.

Many of these issues can be managed by workers wearing an approved respiratory mask (masks were available to all workers during the study). Less frequent mask use is significantly associated with lower lung function. Average mask use was higher for workers in aviary housing, which may have protected them from greater respiratory consequences than had they not worn them.

Measures of food safety and egg quality were taken as well. The quality of the eggs was assessed shortly after they were laid using multiple parameters, which were and found not to be impacted by hen housing system. Eggs from the three systems were further assessed at four, six and 12 weeks of cold storage to determine if housing system impacted the rate of egg quality decline. Findings showed that hen housing system did not impact the rate of egg quality decline. Therefore, current egg quality standards written for conventional egg production should adequately define egg quality for eggs from commercial cage-free aviary and enriched colony cages, CSES said.

Researchers will finalize analysis of the research data on behalf of the coalition in 2014 with a final report available in 2015.

A complete overview of the Flock One research and preliminary results, including Animal Health and Well-Being, Food Affordability, Environment, Worker Health and Safety, and Food Safety and Quality, is available at http://www.sustainableeggcoalition.org.

Dairy fat: Unhealthy or misjudged?

Dairy fat: Unhealthy or misjudged?

WHEN Michigan State University assistant professor Dr. Adam Lock opened a letter from his child's school explaining its dietary program, a sentence describing "healthy" snacks stopped him in his tracks.

In the letter, the words "low-fat" — in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines — appeared before "dairy foods."

Still, one sentence not mandated by USDA had Lock, who was raised on a dairy farm and is an expert in dairy nutrition, shocked to see such a misleading statement. The letter claimed that "cheese is the number-two source of heart-damaging saturated fat in children's diet."

Unlike Lock, most parents would not object to the statement because, for more than 50 years, the concept of eating healthy had become synonymous with avoiding fat, especially saturated fat.

Now, Lock told an American Feed Industry Assn. conference in St. Louis, Mo., the public has a fear of fat.

"Unfortunately, current public perception and public policy is that milk fat, as a saturated fat, is bad for human health," Lock explained. "For over a half-century, saturated fat has been demonized as the major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and public health recommendations are to reduce dietary intake of saturated fat and food products containing saturated fatty acids."

In 1953, scientist Ancel Keys played a fundamental role in labeling saturated fat as the cause of heart disease and rising cholesterol levels. His diet/heart theory was widely accepted and taken for truth after he appeared on the cover of Time magazine. This led to a widespread fear of saturated fat and the characterization of milk fat as evil.

Over the years, Keys' diet/heart theory has been challenged by the scientific community, and many flaws have been found in his data.

Initially, plasma cholesterol level was considered the main risk factor in CVD. After 50 years of research and reviewing the history and politics behind the diet/heart theory, it has become clear that the relationship among fats, cholesterol and health is complex.

Today, advances in technology and research have identified 270 risk factors for CVD, with genetics being the foremost factor.

 

Milk fat complexity

When looking at the major contributors of saturated fat in U.S. diets, milk and dairy products are often cited as the major source, but in fact, vegetable, non-animal sources are the highest contributor, at 44%.

"There is no getting away from the fact that milk fat contains a high portion of saturated fatty acid because of ruminant metabolism and ruminant biohydrogenation," Lock said. "No matter what we do or what we feed the cow, milk fat is always going to be prominent in saturated fatty acids."

Milk can contain 60-75% saturated fat. Milk fat is, by nature, the most diverse fat matrix, containing more than 400 different fatty acids.

The complexity of milk fat composition often leads to misunderstanding and public confusion; therefore, a generalization about fat and fatty acid is declared.

The Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Assn. recommended that the nutritional value-based and biological effects of individual fatty acids be evaluated.

Research on milk's composition has shown that saturated fat increases total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol but also raises high-density lipoprotein, thus having a neutral effect on circulating cholesterol, explained Lock.

 

Dairy in the diet

"It's important to recognize that individuals consuming dairy fats don't consume just saturated fat," Lock said.

As a nutrient-rich food, milk and dairy products are an important source of many vital nutrients — including high-quality protein, calcium and many essential minerals and vitamins — for maintaining a healthy diet.

All calories are not created equally. An 8 oz. cup of milk provides nine essential nutrients, and it is a top food source for calcium, vitamin D and potassium, which are missing in the diets of most adults and children.

Lock noted that future research needs to focus on answering the question of whether reduced-fat milk and dairy products truly provide any additional advantages over whole milk.

Mounting scientific evidence and recognizing that not all saturated fatty acids have the same biological effects could change current dietary recommendations and the public perception of dairy fats in the human diet. Lock warned that change could be slow since the current public perception has been two to three generations in the making.

Lock added that all milk should be promoted as being a significant contributor of nutrients and having benefits for human health.

Volume:85 Issue:40

Court dismisses "Pork, The Other White Meat" lawsuit

After spending significant amounts of donor dollars, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was dealt a significant loss Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

In what was considered to be a futile legal challenge and a very personal attack on U.S. pork producers, a U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by HSUS over the National Pork Board's purchase of the "Pork, The Other White Meat" trademark from NPPC.

HSUS, which was joined in the suit by one Iowa pork producer and the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary Tom Vilsack over approval of the trademark purchase and the Pork Board's annual payments to NPPC. HSUS argued that the sale and payments were unlawful since the Pork Board is prohibited from using checkoff dollars to influence legislation. The court dismissed the HSUS case, ruling that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that no one had suffered any injury from the agriculture secretary's actions, NPPC said.

For more information regarding the case of HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES et al v. VILSACK, click here.

China flexes muscle in global dairy

China flexes muscle in global dairy

IT'S not news that China is a major force in the agricultural marketplace, but a pair of reports from Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research & Advisory Team underscored just how much of an influence the Chinese economy is having on global dairy trade.

Last week, the bank said China is buying huge quantities of dairy products on the international market and squeezing out other buyers in the process. A domestic supply crisis has kept China on the buying side of the export market, underpinning global dairy prices in the third quarter.

"The easing of international dairy prices from their record peak in April lasted barely eight weeks," Rabobank analyst Tim Hunt said. "Forward pricing on the GDT Price Index suggests we are in a period of high pricing that is unprecedented in terms of level and duration."

By mid-September, prices for most dairy products delivered to Asia were higher than they were at the beginning of the quarter, with milk powder and butter prices 10-15% off record highs and cheese prices off just 3% (Figure).

China is already the world's largest dairy importer, and its domestic supplies remain extremely tight. The country imported 27% more product in the second quarter than it had in the 12 months prior, and Hunt said reports from within the country suggest a 6% contraction in the domestic supply.

"Most likely, the prospect of any significant softening in world prices will be delayed, possibly until the second quarter of 2014," he concluded.

U.S. milk production returned to meaningful year-over-year growth in May, with all-milk prices in August up 6% from year-ago levels. Higher prices encouraged increased production in regions where producers grow a larger share of their own feed needs, particularly in the Midwest.

The European Union and New Zealand are also seeing expanded production compared with last year as prices have improved (Table). How China behaves in the market over the next month will largely dictate pricing, which will, in turn, play a role in the pace of expansion moving forward.

At home, the domestic U.S. market saw some encouraging signs in the second quarter. Hunt noted that domestic sales volumes returned to growth, with an improving employment outlook buoying consumer sentiment.

Cheese disappearance rose 3.3% in the second quarter, and retail yogurt sales were up 5% in July. Exports surged, meanwhile, with shipments up 21% during the quarter on a year-over-year equivalent basis.

In its monthly "Cold Storage" report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture put stocks of natural cheese as of Aug. 31 down 4% from the previous month but still 5% larger than the same period in 2012. Butter stocks were down 9% for the month but up 34% from year-ago levels.

Domestic fluid milk sales, meanwhile, remain a disappointment, with sales off 2% during the second quarter. Rabobank expects the domestic milk supply to grow 2% in the second half versus year ago, based on vastly improved production margins as feed costs have moderated considerably over the past few months.

Exports will remain critical to the U.S. market, however, with supply growth expected to continue to outstrip domestic needs.

 

Top five

While the biggest players in the global dairy sector consolidated their hold on the marketplace, Chinese firms have continued to grow and at least one U.S. heavyweight lost ground in Rabobank's annual ranking of the world's 20 largest dairy companies.

In its report, released earlier this month, the bank found that the top five companies, including Nestlé and Danone, continued to drive consolidation and further entrenched themselves at the top of the heap. Kraft Foods, meanwhile, slipped out of the top 10, falling from ninth to 16th on the list.

"The top five companies remain unchanged in their position on the list, yet there are now two Chinese companies that rank among the largest 15, whereas there were none in the top 20 until 2008," Hunt explained. "In contrast, the lack of a U.S.-based global consolidator means that the rankings of U.S. companies have declined."

Nestlé, the largest company on the list, saw 23% revenue growth in dairy sales last year. It acquired Pfizer's infant nutrition business last year and also expanded sales of its other dairy products as well.

Dairy Farmers of America was the largest U.S. company on the list, clocking in at sixth place; its dairy turnover was estimated to be half of Nestlé's, at $12.1 billion. Dean Foods fell a spot to eighth, with Kraft and Schreiber Foods being the only other U.S. companies on the list.

"With the rapid growth of the Chinese giants Yili and Mengniu (numbers 12 and 15, respectively), it is quite possible that the U.S. dairy giants will be pushed further down the list in coming years, with the global landscape largely being shaped by others, at present," Hunt said. "Size should not be a goal in itself, and U.S. companies can participate in growth offshore by developing their export business."

However, with much of the sector's growth in the coming years expected to happen on foreign shores, U.S. firms will need to closely evaluate their efforts and alliances abroad to secure a reasonable share of the growth and value that are likely to develop.

China flexes muscle in global dairy

Milk production growth in key export regions, May-July 2013

 

-Year-over-year, % change-

 

July

May-July

European Union

2.0

0.3

U.S.

2.6

1.8

New Zealand*

7.0

4.5

Australia

-3.5

-5.8

Argentina

-0.3

-1.7

Brazil

3.8

2.1

Total*

1.6

0.2

*Rabobank estimates.

Note: New Zealand and U.S. are August and three months to August.

Source: Rabobank.

 

Volume:18 Issue:40

Beef sector finds ways to minimize Ogallala depletion

The availability of water from the Ogallala Aquifer, lying beneath eight U.S. states from South Dakota to Texas, undoubtedly helped cattle feeders long ago decide where to raise beef. Feedlot operations along the aquifer, from southwest Kansas to the Texas High Plains, comprise more than 36% of U.S. beef annually coming from the region, according to an announcement from Kansas State University.

Justin Waggoner, beef systems specialist at Kansas State Research & Extension's southwest area office in Garden City, noted that in the past, the Ogallala Aquifer was perceived as an infinite resource that could support all water uses — urban and agricultural. Today, people are aware this is not the case.

David Steward, a professor of civil engineering at Kansas State University, and a team of researchers recently completed a study that examined the future of the Ogallala Aquifer. The study found that if current usage of the aquifer continues, as much as 69% of the aquifer would be depleted by the year 2060 (Feedstuffs, Sept. 2). Usage is exceeding the recharge of the aquifer, which has led to its depletion.

The Kansas beef industry could potentially take a hit if water becomes more scarce, which would affect the state's economy. Waggoner said it is hard to pinpoint what areas are in the most trouble when it comes to water availability. Considering the aquifer in a large general sense, he said, there are some areas that are struggling with water today, while other areas are in better shape.

Although differences in water availability exist, he said, conservation should be promoted across the board.

"The beef industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in terms of gross receipts in Kansas," Waggoner said. "So if we do fast forward into the future, and water is going to be allocated on what has the greatest value or economic return, the economic impact of the beef industry will certainly be a part of that discussion in western Kansas."

A recent report released by the Ogallala Aquifer Program, which is made up of researchers from Kansas State along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Service, Texas Tech University and West Texas A&M University, examined the impact of the beef industry in the southern Ogallala region.

The report, available at www.agrilifebookstore.org/product-p/eag-001.htm, found that the beef industry has a large economic impact in the region and return on investment for water. When combining the production and processing sectors, the beef industry contributes $29.8 billion in annual economic output and more than 60,000 jobs to the regional economy.

The average direct water use for each animal in a feedlot is about 12.5 gal. per day. When combining direct and indirect water usage, the beef industry uses 28.6% of the agricultural water, most of it by feedlots. The remaining 71.4% is used for irrigated crop production and other direct livestock use, the report found.

In addition to feedlots, Waggoner said people should think about water use in general and how the Ogallala depletion could potentially affect everyone. Feedlots use more indirect water than cow/calf producers, who might not feel pressure from a lack of water right away.

"The cow/calf operator might be less concerned initially because most of those operations are going to be based on native grass resources," Waggoner said. "But, I think eventually we're all connected in the system. I think there will be some impacts across the board, but the degree to which they're felt is going to be the difference."

Consumers must also be aware and realize their connection in the integrated food chain, he said.

Ag needs 25-year plan for feeding China

Ag needs 25-year plan for feeding China

*Aidan Connolly is a professor at University College Dublin and vice president at Alltech Inc. based out of Washington, D.C. Dr. Mark Lyons is vice president at Alltech Inc. based out of Beijing, China.

GÈNG duo shíwù — more food. That's what China will need by 2050.

With an increasing urban population and growing economy, the People's Republic of China will soon have the largest middle class in the world, and they will be hungry. The estimates of the number of new urban residents represent the equivalent of the population of the U.S.

This move doesn't just translate into more food. There is something changing with these new consumers. These are globally minded, young, confident individuals who are eager to test their newfound empowerment. They want better-quality, safer and better-tasting food.

This change is fueling moves as disparate as the formation of the China Food & Drug Assn. and the proposed acquisition of Smithfield by a Chinese pork processor one-third its size.

Over the past 30 years, China has experienced the greatest increase in wealth ever seen in human history. This has dramatically changed dietary choices and has shifted diets from once grain-only based to include ever-increasing levels of protein.

Meat consumption has already doubled in China over the past 20 years, with per capita consumption of 26 kg in 1990 and 55 kg in 2011.

Despite this change, expenditure on food in China is relatively low and is expected to reach only half the present level of Mexico by 2015. By 2030, it is estimated that the country's consumption of meat, milk and eggs will increase by 50%. Meat consumption is anticipated to grow to 85 kg per person by 2030.

China is changing at a pace faster than anywhere in the world. The potential for agriculture and the food industry in the Far East is great. However, the question the global agribusiness community is left with now is: How can we further develop China's food industry?

There are three considerations the board of directors of every agribusiness should have when developing a 25-year business plan in China:

1. No eating alone in China — the importance of branding food.

2. Consolidation in China's feed industry equals more yield, but fewer players.

3. Three future food challenges include food security, food safety and food quality.

 

Branding food

In other countries, food is considered a relatively minor subject compared to politics, sports and celebrities. However, in China, many of those items are not open for discussion in the media; thus, food and agricultural issues get more press than any other topic.

Food is also a critical aspect of Chinese culture and relationships. In China, no one ever eats alone, and food is often the way people come together, whether in their personal life or in business.

With such a strong emphasis on food, the next logical step for any agribusiness is to develop a brand in China. Strong brands elicit opinions, emotions and, sometimes, physiological responses from customers. China's move toward a branded food economy was covered by McLoughlin et al. in the International Food & Agribusiness Management Review.

There are six primary reasons why China is heading this direction:

1. Escalating middle class. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 75% of the Chinese population will be middle class by 2025.

This social status will be represented by "survivors," the growing 60-plus age group with economic influence and vigor for food companies to target; their children, the "builders," brand-conscious, negotiating investors in the Chinese economy, and the "boomers," the first generation to be educated on how brands can represent status and a guarantee of quality.

2. Balancing security with safety. While China is currently able to feed its inhabitants, it relies heavily on imported food inputs. For example, the country imported 78% of its soybean supplies in 2010.

China has an opportunity to improve the safety and quality of the food it produces, as these key areas are no longer considered a luxury in this growing economy but a necessity for all branded food products.

3. Linking industry supply chains. The Chinese food industry is heading toward consolidation. Firms are now integrating their food safety efforts though the entire chain from farm to fork and only working with companies that can demonstrate responsible quality control practices to further strengthen their brands.

4. Simple yet complex. While other global markets often classify Chinese people as though they were all one monolithic group, income, geography and education create entirely different market segments for branding.

Agribusiness also needs to realize that while health is a major concern for Chinese people, there is a simple, traditional cultural view to eat for taste first and life second.

5. Evolving Chinese consumer market. According to The Financial Times article "China Sets Pace in Brand Innovation," the average life cycle of a consumer product in China is about three years. This means that agribusinesses need to actively engage with consumers on a regular basis to create innovative food products that meet the market's evolving needs.

6. Putting retailers above the brand. The Chinese market often puts a higher emphasis on the retailer rather than the brands it sells. For example, Wal-Mart has already established itself and is growing rapidly in the country. In order to work successfully in the Chinese food industry, firms may need to consider how they can work with popular retailers to build their brand.

 

More yield, fewer players

Branding plays a highly significant role in the Chinese food industry, but there is another question firms need to consider before doing business in the Far East: Is there access to the agricultural resources needed to further develop the industry?

Among the 134 countries assessed in Alltech's 2012 global feed survey, China was reaffirmed as the chief producer of feed, at 191 million tons and an estimated 10,000 feed mills, accounting for 20% of global output.

However, some suggest that a large amount of feed is being produced locally or on the farm and not in a factory setting, making it impossible to quantify. The total amount of feed required for China is certainly more than 400 million tons and could even be closer to 600 million tons, by some estimates.

Feed companies are picking up growth from locally produced and non-calculated feed sources, resulting in faster growth in the feed industry than in the food industry. Food safety concerns are also backing this trend as feed companies provide a higher level of food safety and regulatory oversight.

A consolidation trend has also developed in the Chinese feed industry, with many of the remaining players increasing their output. Today, more than 30 companies have production exceeding 500,000 tons per year, representing 42% of China's total tonnage. While there are now fewer feed companies with larger outputs, many of these companies are still relatively small in terms of volume and have encountered efficiency issues as the result of increasing feed costs and quality assurance methods.

These issues in the feed industry trickle down and affect China's livestock industry. Currently, China has the largest pig population, but it isn't sustainable even at 50% of the world's production.

From the country's 50 million sows, 20 pigs are born alive per sow per year. This equals an annual production of 1 billion pigs per year. However, due to preweaning mortality and other losses, only 600 million actually go to market. The 400 million pigs lost are three times the size of the U.S. pig production. This means that the actually number of pigs per sow per year is probably closer to 12 as a national average.

Some producers on the high end are already achieving 25 pigs per sow per year, so the bar is being set for rapid improvement. In China, one more pig per sow per year would equate to 1 million tons of feed saved.

 

Food challenges

Food security is often seen as the Achilles heel of China. The country needs to find a way to balance its raw material imports against the price of food in China. Other challenges are the availability of land in a country of rising urbanization, access to safe water and retaining farm employees, who often can make higher earnings in industrial work.

Food safety is too significant of a public issue for the government to ignore. However, efforts to develop a national system of food standards have been slow due to a nonexistent food safety culture. Efforts to set up such a system could benefit from adopting many different opinions and experiences from other countries and localizing these to the present and future Chinese environment.

Estimates of the economic impact the avian influenza scare had on the poultry industry this year reached more than $7 billion, and the longer-lasting impact and perception that the full scale of the problem was not revealed to consumers may cost much more. Many consumers stopped eating chicken, and several restaurants stopped serving it during the crisis. Some consumers have not gone back to eating chicken as they did before.

As China continues to develop, food and feed quality concerns will persist. In recent years, contamination of trace mineral supplements has been causing more frequent problems across borders in the feed industry. China is a major supplier of inorganic minerals to the animal nutrition sector.

Recently, trace elements shipped to the European Union from China, including sources of zinc, copper and manganese, have been included in a list of products that are subject to enhanced checks before being allowed to enter the EU. Cadmium and lead contamination have been identified as the potential hazards in these shipments, as well as regular heavy metal, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenol contaminations.

If these exports are going out the door of China, agribusiness firms must consider what quality control problems may remain or could be imported into the country.

Just as they practice on their home turf, agricultural companies that desire to do business in China will need to choose trusted suppliers, manage a well-trained staff, implement a stringent quality control and regulatory system, use the latest in composite testing, be proactive with consumers and the media and develop a safe feed culture at the leadership level.

Equally, domestic companies are rapidly increasing their level of expertise and are eager to improve their standards of operation. They are focusing on improving all parts of their businesses and creating strong brands in the domestic market.

Senior executives are curious about business strategies and technological methods from abroad and are also looking to invest outside of China to secure a supply for the Chinese market.

Some foreign brands may also be a strong way for Chinese firms to consolidate their position in the Chinese market and potentially learn about foreign markets as well.

In conclusion, the Chinese economy has achieved amazing growth and affluence over the past 30 years, possibly the greatest economic growth over that period of time in the history of civilization. Now, the global food industry needs to determine the optimal solutions for feeding this growing population. This will involve multinationals, domestic entrepreneurs and the Chinese government as key players, but all will be following the new Chinese consumers and their demands.

As an agribusiness community, the 25-year plan must focus on how to work together with this empire to make farms larger, more efficient and more traceable in order to further develop the Chinese food industry. China may be 10 years behind western companies in building a branded food industry; however, it won't take them 10 years to catch up.

Volume:85 Issue:40

Only 2% of U.S. farmland held by foreign investors

Foreign investors hold an interest in 25,715,588 acres of U.S. agricultural land, which is approximately 2% of all privately held U.S. agricultural land, and 1% of all land in the U.S., according to USDA's Farm Service Agency's latest reporting on foreign investors' holdings. 

The report, titled “Foreign Holdings of U.S. Agricultural Land Through December 31, 2011,” contains statistics that are current through Dec. 31, 2011.

Forest land accounted for 54% of all foreign held agricultural acreage, cropland for 19%, and pasture and other agricultural land for 27%.

Foreign holdings of U.S. agricultural land were relatively steady from 2000 through 2006; between 2006 and 2007, there was a significant 3.6 million acre increase. Since 2008, there have been moderate increases each year ranging from 1.3 to 1.5 million acres.

The total foreign-held U.S. agricultural acres as of the last report, dated Dec. 31, 2010, were 24,224,807, resulting in an increase of 1,490,781 acres.

The report noted that most of the foreign investment in agricultural land is concentrated in the South and West.

The state of Texas has the largest amount of foreign held U.S. agricultural land with 2,894,563 acres. This figure represents only 1.9% of privately owned agricultural land in Texas. Maine has the second largest amount of foreign held agricultural acres with 2,877,965. The majority of these acres consist of forest or timber land, totaling 2,830,467 acres. Washington has the third largest amount of foreign held agricultural land with 1,671,102 acres, which is 7.6% of its privately held agricultural land.

In terms of percentages, approximately 16% of Maine’s privately held agricultural land is held by foreign investors; this is approximately 11% of the reported foreign held agricultural land in the United States. Hawaii has the second largest percentage of foreign held U.S. agricultural land, 158,887 acres, which is 8.8% of the privately held agricultural land in the state and slightly less than 1% of the reported foreign held agricultural land in the United States. The majority of foreign held agricultural land in Hawaii consists of 78,852 acres of pasture land. Washington (7.6%), Alabama (5.4%) and Florida (5.3) have the next largest percentages of reported foreign held agricultural land.

Canadian investors own the largest amount of reported foreign held agricultural and non-agricultural land, with 28%, or 7,250,834 acres (report 1B). Foreign persons from an additional four countries, the Netherlands with 19%, Germany with 7%, the United Kingdom with 6%, and Portugal with 5% collectively hold 9,511,437 acres or 36% of the foreign held acres in the United States. The remaining 9,577,982 acres, or 36% of all reported foreign held agricultural and non-agricultural land, is held by various other countries.

Cutting livestock emissions viable

Cutting livestock emissions viable

Cutting livestock emissions viable
GREENHOUSE gas (GHG) emissions by the livestock sector could be cut by as much as 30% through the wider use of existing best practices and technologies, according to a new study released by the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report, "Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock: A Global Assessment of Emissions & Mitigation Opportunities," represents a comprehensive estimate of livestock's contribution to global warming, as well as the sector's potential to help tackle the problem, FAO said.

According to the report, GHG emissions associated with livestock supply chains add up to 7.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, or 14.5% of all human-caused GHG releases.

The main sources of emissions are: feed production and processing (45% of the total), outputs of GHG during digestion by cows (39%) and manure decomposition (10%), FAO said. The remainder is attributable to the processing and transportation of animal products.

To arrive at its estimates, FAO conducted an analysis of GHG emissions at multiple stages of various livestock supply chains (Figure), including the production and transport of animal feed, on-farm energy use, emissions from animal digestion and manure decay, as well as post-slaughter transport, refrigeration and packaging of animal products.

FAO explained that for this report, it used a modified model, the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model, from the model it used for its 2006 "Livestock's Long Shadow" report.

 

Potential for cuts

By drilling down into where and how emissions occur, the report reveals that significant emission reductions are within the reach of livestock producers, FAO said.

Wider adoption of existing best practices and technologies in feeding, health and husbandry and manure management — as well as greater use of currently underutilized technologies such as biogas generators and energy-saving devices — could help the global livestock sector cut its outputs of global warming gases as much as 30% by becoming more efficient and reducing energy waste, the international agency continued.

Within livestock production systems, there is a strong link between resource use efficiency and the intensity of GHG emissions, the report notes. The potential for achieving emission reductions lies in enabling all livestock producers to change to practices that already are being used by the most efficient operators.

"These new findings show that the potential to improve the sector's environmental performance is significant — and that realizing that potential is, indeed, doable," said Ren Wang, FAO assistant director-general for agriculture and consumer protection.

With global demand for livestock products continuing to grow strongly in almost all developing countries, he added, "it is imperative that the sector starts working now to achieve these reductions to help offset the increases in overall emissions that future growth in livestock production will entail."

FAO said many of the actions it recommends for improving efficiency and reducing GHG emissions would also boost production, which would provide more food and higher incomes, with benefits for food security and poverty reduction.

According to the FAO report, substantial emission reductions can be achieved across all species, systems and regions, with the greatest potential for cuts found in low-productivity ruminant livestock systems in South Asia, Latin America and Africa.

However, FAO said in developed countries — where emission intensities are relatively low but the overall volume of production and, therefore, emissions is high — even small decreases in intensity could still add up to significant gains.

Enabling the livestock production sector — a diverse, global activity that varies greatly from country to country — to become more efficient and reduce emissions will require a mix of policies, incentives and on-the-ground work, FAO said.

There needs to be a focus on practice innovation, supported by knowledge transfer, financial incentives, regulations and raising awareness. In particular, the agency said better policies are needed to facilitate the transfer and use of the best existing efficient practices and technologies and to encourage the development of new solutions.

"Only by involving all stakeholders — the private and public sector, civil society research and academia and international organizations — will we be able to implement solutions that address the livestock sector's diversity and complexity," Wang said.

Volume:85 Issue:40

Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 9/30/13

Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 9/30/13

Livestock and meat ($)

Sept. 25

Sept. 18

6 months ago

Year ago

Steers, Choice, carcass, 550-700 lb., cwt., Omaha

193.59

193.29

189.96

192.45

Steers, Choice, 1,050-1,200 lb., cwt. Okla/Texas

124.00

123.00

125.00

123.00

Feeder Steers, 600-700 lb., cwt., Oklahoma City

166.00A

165.50A

153.12A

142.00A

Lean Hogs, Carcass, Iowa-Minn. 167-187 lb.(1)

93.59

92.51

74.22

73.75

Feeder Pigs, 40 lb. National Direct Delivered(2)

59.93

56.33

58.15

16.39

SEW Pigs, 10 lb., National direct delivered (per head)

42.11

39.42

27.07

14.11

Choice Beef, cutout, cwt.

193.60

193.01

189.07

192.04

Pork Loin, 185 lb. 51-52% lean, cutout, cwt.(3)

104.95

103.00

85.51

88.39

Hog Corn Ratio

20.2

19.0

10.5

10.5

Steer Corn Ratio

27.2

24.4

17.7

17.2

Poultry and eggs (cents)

 

 

 

 

Chickens, Grade A, Fresh lb. Chicago

90.00a

86.50a

103.46a

76.22a

Hen Turkeys, Grade A, Frozen, lb., Chicago

101.00Aa

101.50Aa

97.00Aa

109.00Aa

Young Tom Turkeys, Grade A. Frozen lb. Chicago

102.00Aa

102.50Aa

96.50Aa

110.50Aa

Eggs, Grade A, Large, doz., Chicago

100.50

100.50

133.50

138.50

N/A: not available

A: average

 

 

 

(1) Replaces live hogs; live hogs are 0.755 of quote.
(2) Replaces Sioux Falls, 50-60 lbs. (2/26/07)
(3) National FOB plant, replaces national daily carlot.
Livestock, meat, poultry and egg prices from USDA.

 

Volume:85 Issue:40

Grain & ingredient cash market comparisons, 9/30/13

Grain & ingredient cash market comparisons, 9/30/13

Major feed ingredients

Sept. 25

Sept. 18

6 months ago

Year ago

Corn No. 2, Chicago, bu.

 

 

 

 

Processor bid*

4.69A

4.73A

N/A

7.27A

Terminal bid*

4.34A

4.35A

N/A

7.11A

Milo, Kansas City, cwt.

8.12

8.14

12.94

12.05

Soybeans, Chicago, bu., processor bid

13.17A

13.43A

N/A

15.75A

Soybean Meal, 48% Decatur Bid

453.60A

486.00A

N/A

490.10A

Cottonseed Meal, Memphis, ton

370.00

375.00

N/A

345.00

Linseed Meal, Solvent, Minneapolis

395.00

N/A

305.00

330.00

Meat and Bone Meal, Chicago, ton

480.00

480.00

515.00

520.00

Fish Meal, Menhaden, Atlanta, ton

1,525.00

1,525.00

1,620.00

1,375.00

Corn Gluten Meal, 60%, Chicago, ton

595.00

595.00

595.00

740.00

Distillers Dried Grains, Chicago, ton

240.00

240.00

265.00

275.00

17% Dehy. Alfalfa Pellets, KC, ton

360.00

360.00

368.00

363.00

Millfeeds, Midds, Minneapolis, ton

185.00

190.00

245.00

240.00

Molasses, Cane, Houston, ton

160.00

160.00

165.00

155.00

Dried Citrus Pulp, Atlanta, ton

285.00

290.00

290.00

365.00

Whey, Whole, Chicago, cwt.

53.88

53.88

55.00

58.25

Rolled Oats, Minneapolis, ton

545.00

545.00

557.00

559.00

Barley, Los Angeles , cwt.

11.80

11.80

15.25

15.68

Feeding Wheat, Kansas City, bu.

6.93

7.03

N/A

9.34

* Chicago corn and soybean prices for latest and previous week are the middle of the range of to-arrive bids; soybean meal prices are midrange of processor quotes. Chicago corn and soybean prices provided by USDA Market News. Six months, year ago comparisons are all spot cash. Based on prices reported by Feedstuffs' market reporters.

A: average

N/A: not available

 

Volume:85 Issue:40